Middle School Update 19 October 2016

Hello again from 7th and 8th grade math,

The 7th graders have just completed the second chapter of their text, solidifying their knowledge of arithmetic with integers (positive and negative whole numbers). We are halfway through The Number Devil and Robert and his devilish friend have touched on topics ranging from triangular and square numbers to infinity and beyond:)

The 8th graders are cruising along with their study of Algebra. Several of them have chosen to pursue the Independent Study option and are demonstrating their ability to work and learn together. The regular students are finding that the smaller group requires more from each of them. They, too, are meeting that challenge well.

The whole group is involved in the Mathematician Biography project and we just had our first two presentations last Friday featuring Carl Friedrich Gauss and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz. In addition, with the upcoming election looming large, we spent a class period endeavoring to understand the math behind the electoral college.

Finally, here is some information about the Original Works program:

The Original Works program is currently running at the school until October 28th, 2016.

The Original Works program provides each student the opportunity to have the artwork they have created in class, reproduced onto products such as magnets, tiles, note cards, mugs, mouse pads and many other items. This is a great way for you to share your child’s artwork with family and friends.

Now is the time to place your order. If you are interested in ordering, please bring your completed order form and payment to school no later than October 28th, 2016.

If you have questions please email Maureen Bjerke for additional assistance at mbjerke@mismt.org.

You can go to their website (originalworks.com) for more information on the program.

Have a great long weekend,


Middle School Update 7 October 2016

Greeting Middle School Parents!

What a wonderful day we had with all our “Grand Visitors” today and we look forward to a fun evening in the ball park tonight at the Fall Family Fiesta. Be sure to bring your warm layers!

It’s hard to imagine in this cool autumn week, but we are already looking forward to the Middle School Spring Trips:

6th and 7th graders:

After a wildly successful spring trip to Glacier National Park last year, we will be returning again to the spectacular Crown of the Continent ecosystem this April!  From Monday, April 24 to Friday, April 28, 2017, the Middle School teachers will be taking the 6th and 7th grade students to the Glacier Institute’s Discovery School. 

The total cost for the 2017 6th and 7th grade spring trip is $465 which includes tuition, room and board, as well as transportation to and from Discovery School. Financial aid is available and must be applied for. The application is available from Gary Cram in the MIS Business Office and must be returned to the office by November 11th.  Deadline for full payment is February 24, 2017.

To learn more about the Discovery School program, please visit http://www.glacierinstitute.org/Discovery-School_W4407.cfm

8th graders:

The 2016-17 capstone trip to Mexico is set for April 21 – 28, 2017!  We will have an informational meeting for parents and students this coming Wednesday, October 12th at 8:00-8:30am in Room 8.


See you tonight at the Fall Family Fiesta!

Osprey Stadium

Doors open at 5:00

Student performances begin at 6:30

Live auction at 7:00

Middle School Update 9/29/2016

Hello Middle School Families,
          As the journey through the new school year offers new adventures, students also find comfort in a consistent schedule and safe, open-minded learning environments. In PE, students are working in small groups to create a team game. We just began to compare and contrast team games played throughout the world. Students used this process to generate groupings based on similar interests around specific elements of games. Some groups focused on combining aspects of traditional team sports such as soccer, basketball, lacrosse and football. While other groups are working on a real world version of Quidditch, from Harry Potter. Their creativity is really showing in this project.
           During the more active portions of class we tried to take advantage of this beautiful weather while playing some of the games we discussed. The next step will be refining their games as well as peer reviews. When they feel they are ready they take turns playing each other’s games.
          The first MIS soccer season is coming to a close, and I want to extend a thank you to all the parents that helped with the carpool, as well as all the parents and students who showed up to the games to cheer for our team. I also want to thank Erik Snyder for helping me keep my head above water coaching the team, thank you. Our final two games are the 11th and 12th of October against Lolo and Target Range. More details about those dates to come.

If you happened to miss it, MIS unveiled a logo last night at the parent meeting; stickers, hoodies, and other apparel now available.


Also, do not forget about G Day and the Fall Family Fiesta, October 7th. RSVP yourself and family, for the Fall Family Fiesta and G Day. Come out in support of MIS, get treated to dinner and have some fun getting to know MIS families.


8th Grade Parents, just a reminder to turn in field trip permission slips to Gillian tomorrow, please. Any questions contact Gillian via email.


A note from Jen regarding MathCounts:


How gratifying to see 35+ young mathematicians staying after school every Friday, cheerfully working on really challenging math problems!  :)  They are such an enthusiastic group!
For those of you who are interested in continuing with the MathCounts program through the year, now’s the time to sign up. Beginning with the October 14th session, there is a small fee for this after school program.  If you have already paid this fee, thanks so much!  If not, please contact the office to make your payment.

Please note:  There will be no MathCounts session on October 7th – instead we hope to see you all at the Fall Family Fiesta.   We’ll resume MathCounts on October 14th.  Thanks, everyone, for making this possible for your kiddoes – remember, you are always welcome to stop by and watch the kids in action.

Middle School Update 9/16

7th and 8th grade math are off to a strong start. Each student wrote a first math memory and a goal for math class this year. Both classes are into the first chapter of their textbooks.

Soon, the 8th graders will be choosing a mathematician to write about and share with the class. The 7th graders will start reading The Number Devil by Hans Magnus Enzensburger on Fridays, beginning next week.

For your information, the students will have math homework Monday through Wednesday most weeks. Assignments should take no more than 30 minutes but ideally should be more like 20 minutes. I have asked the students to let me know if they are getting them done in the time frame but parents can also feel free to inform me if you find your child regularly needing more than 30 minutes to do the homework.

Finally, here are a couple of photos of 8th graders working on cells in Science class.

exploring-cells modeling-cells


Linda Gazzola

Middle School Update, 9/9/16

Hello Middle School Families,

Well, the crew here in middle school is finally finding their rhythm.  After dedicating the opening days of school to our social curriculum, we had our first full day of academic classes yesterday.  I can tell that the kiddos (and their teachers!) are ready to dig into their classes.  In English, the 6th graders began exercising their writing muscles this week.  They wrote dynamic proclamations on their, “Literary Superpowers” and began drafting personal narratives on a courageous moment in their lives.  The “7th and 8th graders began their studies on Shakespeare.  This unit of study will culminate in the first ever, 7th and 8th grade play.  The play will be taking place on December 8th at the UM recital hall.  We are all very excited about using the creative process to personalize Shakespeare in a way unique to this group of children.  Stay tuned for more details on this exciting event!

Speaking of performance, we will take a walking field trip next week to the university where we will watch a performance by the Co-Motion Dance Project about Glacier National Park.  We would love to have a few chaperones for this event.  We will be walking to the university at 12:15 and returning by 2:30.  Please let Jen know if you are interested in chaperoning — it’s never too late to start working on those volunteer hours!

If you haven’t turned in your walking field trip permission slip, we need this back ASAP.  Thanks!

The library is back in action as well.  Please read this note from Laura Bovard, our fabulous librarian:

Scholastic Book orders are a great way to support your child’s literacy in both English and Spanish!  You can order Scholastic Books through the school or online using the classroom code HKWNM.  Your book orders earn our library points to be spent on new books for the library!
Scholastic fliers were distributed to your child’s teacher today.  Books orders should be returned by Tuesday, September 20th!  Checks are payable to Scholastic Book Clubs. 

Have a lovely weekend,



Middle School update 2 Sept 2016

Hello Middle School Families!

We had a wonderful, fun and fruitful fall retreat up at Flathead Lake!  What a beautiful setting to open our year with games, stories, friendship and team building.  We are all looking forward to continuing to get to know this principled, caring and adventurous community of middle school students!

This year, MIS is excited to be implementing the Responsive Classroom approach into all classrooms, strengthening our IB physical, social, and emotional curriculum. Teachers have spent time in professional development learning about Responsive Classroom.   We are exploring the power of using language effectively in the classroom, how to structure classes to best support student needs, and activities that enhance the development of a safe, inclusive and supportive classroom.

“The Responsive Classroom approach to teaching emphasizes academic, social, and emotional growth in a strong school community. We believe that how children learn is as important as what they learn, and that academic success is inextricably tied to building social-emotional competencies.”  –  Taken from About Responsive Classroom 

Have a fun and safe Labor Day weekend,

Jen and the Middle School Team


Middle school works on a written reflection after a fabulous day on Flathead Lake.

Service day update

Hello Families,

First of all, thank you all for attending the middle school graduation! I was so proud of all of our middle school performers. They all worked very hard, both in class and at home, to create something that truly represented the artist within. What a lovely celebration.

Today the 6th and 7th graders spent the morning doing some service up at the PEAS farm. They weeded like mad, boosted by a healthy advisory competition to see who could make the largest weed pile. We then splashed around in Rattlesnake Creek and enjoyed a picnic lunch. Back at school the 6th graders prepared a s’mores snack in their way cool solar ovens and we enjoyed some down time with books and art projects.

Don’t forget that the final day of school is this Wednesday, June 8th. The kiddos will complete the school year at 11:30. As always, thank you for all you do to support our middle school program each and every day. It has been a vibrant and lively year! We wish everyone wonderfully relaxing summer and look forward to reconnecting in the fall.

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End of Year Performance and Beyond

Hello wonderful middle school parents, the end of the year is upon us. Today we finished our final rehearsal at MIS, and tomorrow we’re off to the theatre for a full day of dress rehearsals with lights and everything. Students will bring snacks, maybe a book and a great attitude with them to the theatre. As you may know we are walking over to the University Theatre in the morning and will spend the whole day there. Your budding young learners are beaming with excitement, and cannot wait to share their talents with you before we send the next group of 8th graders into the world to be the change they want to see. For those 8th grade parents, it takes a village and we middle school teacher couldn’t be more thrilled you included us in your village, we will miss seeing their bright shining faces gracing our halls each day.

– Christian BakerIMG_0648 IMG_0650 IMG_0652 IMG_0654


Revised - Don’t forget that next Friday, June 3rd, is the end of the year program/8th grade graduation.  This fantastic event will feature all of our students!  The show begins promptly at 3:30 in the UM Recital  Hall on the UM campus.  A few things to remember:

  • K-8 students will be walking the University from MIS that morning.  We will spend the whole day on the UM campus.  Please be sure they have a hearty lunch that is easy to transport and comfy walking shoes.  There will be NO PIZZA that day.  We will be providing a pizza snack at 3:00 before the show.  If your child has an allergy and cannot eat pizza, please be sure that they have a snack packed for the afternoon.
  • There will be no after care on Friday, June 3rd.
  • Students should wear MIS tee shirts or brightly colored tee shirts without any text and dark colored pants.  8th graders need to wear their semi-formal graduation wear.

We are so excited about this event and can’t wait to see everyone there!

Middle School update, May 26, 2016

The school year is winding down and Middle School Science is going out with a bang! …and a buzz …and a splash…

6th grade scientists finished off the year with a unit on Energy.  We explored the kinetic and potential energy demonstrated in playground equipment.   The kids got super creative using conductive and insulating playdoughs to create “squishy circuits” that lit up LEDs, made motors whir and buzzers buzz!  We even designed and engineered solar ovens to apply what we’ve learned about converting radiant energy to thermal energy.  We’ll be testing the ovens next week – be sure to ask your 6th grader how much heat they were able to trap!

7th and 8th graders spent several classes of their Water unit at the river.  We visited the confluence of the Clark Fork River and Rock Creek, wrote letters to the editor of Missoulian, and even wrote a blog for Clark Fork Coalition.  Read the blog here: http://clarkfork.org/thats-bull/   Our young ecologists monitored both the chemical and biological water quality factors of Rattlesnake Creek, sending their data and analyses to the Watershed Education Network as a part of an important ongoing citizen science project.  7th graders have planned a Water Carnival for the K-1 classes next week – be sure to ask your 7th grader about the station he/she has planned.  And the 8th graders worked so hard this week to polish up their documentary short films!  We’ll be screening these films next week in class.  Why not ask to get a sneak preview of your 8th grader’s creative work?

Don’t forget that next Friday, June 3rd, is the end of the year program/8th grade graduation.  This fantastic event will feature all of our students!  The show begins promptly at 3:30 in the UM Recital  Hall on the UM campus.  A few things to remember:

  • K-8 students will be walking the University from MIS that morning.  We will spend the whole day on the UM campus.  Please be sure they have a hearty lunch that is easy to transport and comfy walking shoes.  There will be NO PIZZA that day.  We will be providing a pizza snack at 3:00 before the show.  If your child has an allergy and cannot eat pizza, please be sure that they have a snack packed for the afternoon.
  • There will be no after care on Friday, June 3rd.
  • Students should wear MIS tee shirts or brightly colored tee shirts without any text and dark colored pants.  8th graders need to wear their semi-formal graduation wear.

We are so excited about this event and can’t wait to see everyone there!

Have a wonderful and safe Memorial Day Weekend!

Jen and the MS Team


One of our many “Squishy Circuit” creations


Exploring series circuits


Designing (and redesigning!) our solar ovens


Exploring how to wire a solar panel to produce more voltage

Extended Trip Presentations in Spanish

How rewarding it is to see our IB curriculum in action! This year, the middle school classes brought back to the primary grades what they had learned in their trips to Glacier National Park and Mexico. The older students planned mini-workshops to deliver topics that were science related and that their younger peers connected them to their current of unit in the PYP (Sharing the Planet).  The process started before taking their trips by gathering information from our pre-school  through 5th grader inquirers.  Recently, they visited them again to report on their findings and to extend their learning experiences.  The 8th graders covered plants and animals from Baja California and the 6th and 7th presented on ecosystems and pollution of Glacier National Park.  Please see below pictures and other important information.

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Don’t forget that our end of the year program/8th grade graduation is coming up on June 3rd at the University of Montana music recital hall.  All families, preschool through 8th grade, are the stars of this show!  Please plan to be there.  The show starts promptly at 3:30 so arrive early to get a good seat.  More details about the school day will follow shortly.

MIS needs lots of help to end the year right.  Sign up for these great opportunities!